Aim: Highlights the typical water-related features of an urbanizing polder and its transformation into a water sensitive or “Sponge City” using recent experiences of Kunshan city, China.
Main concepts covered: The main concept concerns the Sponge City approach which has been developed to address the major water challenges of China's rapidly expanding cities. A Sponge City aims to mimic the natural water cycle. Therefore, the concept builds upon nature-inspired technologies and designs. The planning framework, underlying principles and implementation of the Sponge City Management Plan of Kunshan, China, are presented.
Main methods covered: The Layer Approach is presented as a planning and design method to guide the Sponge City transformation process. An overview is given of the broad range of Blue Green Infrastructure (BGI) technologies on which the Sponge City concept is built.
Conclusions: The Sponge City approach aims to address both the water challenges cities are currently facing, such as a poor water quality, floods and droughts, and the poor living conditions in cities. In order to accomplish these, BGI is used as a leverage mechanism to foster urban regeneration.